In a bid to turn its blockchain industry into âa global leader,â Australia will be developing a national blockchain roadmap and allocating AU$100,000 (US$71,000) to domestic blockchain startups to increase their global exposure and for networking purposes.
According to a joint statement from the Australian minister
for industry, science and technology, and the Australian minister for trade, tourism
and investment, released
on Monday, the roadmap âwill focus on a number of policy areas including
regulation, skills and capacity building, innovation, investment, and
international competitiveness and collaboration,â and will be developed in
close consultation with the blockchain industry.
Karen Andrews, Australiaâs minister for industry, science and
technology, emphasized that Australia had to seize the opportunities presented
by blockchain, and stated:
âThe national strategy puts us on the front foot in
exploring how government and industry can enhance the long-term development of
blockchain and its uses.
âWe will work closely with blockchain and technology experts
from industry and academia to develop the strategy, as well as with [the Commonwealth
Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, or] CSIROâs Data61 to
incorporate findings from their forthcoming future scenarios report on
The CSIRO is an Australian federal science agency responsible
for science research. Its digital innovation center, Data61, has spearheaded
several blockchain projects including the âMaking
Money Smartâ trial, which sought to explore the potential of blockchain to
create âsmart moneyâ through using the case of the National Disability
Insurance Scheme, and Red
Belly Blockchain, a ânext generationâ blockchain project promising
increased speed and energy efficiencies at a global scale.
âIn addition, AU$100,000 funding will come through my department for Australian companies to join [the Australian Trade and Investment Commission, or] Austradeâs Mission to Consensus in New York in May, a landmark event for the blockchain industry, demonstrating the Morrison governmentâs commitment to boosting this sector,â Andrews added.
Simon Birmingham, Australiaâs minister for trade, tourism
and investment, stressed the importance of the countryâs blockchain startups to
âstay ahead of the game in one of the worldâs fastest growing technology
âAustradeâs upcoming mission will connect Australian
blockchain companies and startups with investors and customers with a view to
expanding their businesses globally,â Birmingham said, adding that Consensus, an
event bringing major blockchain companies, developers, founders and investors each
year to New York City, will provide promising Australian startups with the
platform to showcase their products on the world-stage as well as the
opportunity to network with key players in the space.
The announcement of Australiaâs national blockchain roadmap
comes at a time when local organizations Thomas Foods International, Australiaâs
largest 100% family-owned meat processor, and Drakes Supermarket, the countryâs
largest independent grocery retailer, are adopting blockchain to improve food traceability.
The two companies have joined
IBMâs blockchain-based food ecosystem solution IBM Food Trust, a solution they
have been testing for the past three months with the goal of delivering
improvements in day-to-day operational efficiencies.
âWe expect to see more of this collaboration in the coming
year, with groups of partners working together for the benefit of the entire
food industry,â said Rupert Colchester, head of blockchain at IBM Australia and
âTransparency and traceability are the key to many
industries now, and none more so than in the critical issues of food safety and